How we ensure your patients’ phone calls are answered promptly

Written By Annabel Veysey

A common question that we get from consultants and healthcare providers that enquire with us is “How will you ensure my patients’ calls are answered promptly?” 

It’s an important and fair question to ask. It’s really frustrating to call a business only to get no answer and no call back. So it’s important to get this right. 

Anyone taking the time to make a phone call into your practice is going to be valuable, and deserves prompt attention. New patient enquiries that are answered on the first call are much more likely to result in a booked appointment. Our PAs recognise that patients won’t wait around if their call isn’t answered, and are more likely to call other specialists unless they’re called back almost immediately. 

Of course, your existing patients are just as important. Answering the phone promptly is an essential component of good customer service. It shows professionalism and compassion. It shows that you know your patients want to get through on the phone quickly, and you’ve ensured your practice is set up appropriately. Impressive! 

How we make sure your phones are answered quickly

At MPM we make sure that answering the phone is top of the list of priorities for your PA. 

It starts with making sure we don’t overload each of our PAs, giving them the time they need to answer the phone quickly. Each of our PAs will look after 2 or 3 practices at most, which means it’s much more likely they’ll be available to answer the phone as soon as it rings. If your PA is covering 3 practices, we’ll ensure a balanced mix to make sure they’re covering a quieter one that’s less demanding. 

For busier practices, you can opt to take a back up PA who will answer calls your main PA couldn’t. It works like this:

If your PA doesn’t answer the phone within 4 or 5 rings, the phone will switch over to another PA who’s been chosen for this purpose, then if they can’t answer the phone, it will switch to voicemail. This system will help increase the number of calls that are answered the first time by a PA, reducing voicemails and improving patient satisfaction. 

Your practice will always have a unique, dedicated phone number chosen by you. This means when your PA sees a call come through, they know it’s for your practice, and can answer accordingly. Even if they work for more than one practice, they’ll know who the patient is calling for. 

What happens if your PA misses a call?

Of course, there will be occasions where your PA isn’t able to answer the phone. Whilst we try very hard to answer all calls, it’s not always going to be possible. 

When a call has been missed, they’ll be alerted by email and on their phone. If the patient has left a voicemail, that will be sent immediately to them through email too. 

Your PA knows the importance of responding promptly to new and existing patients, and they’ll make sure their first priority is calling the patient back as soon as they are able to. 

In our experience, most patients are perfectly happy as long as their call is returned promptly. 

Using VOIP apps in your private practice. 

Modern technology has helped make running a remote practice straightforward and simple. 

Voice Over IP (VOIP) systems allow calls to take place over the internet, rather than a traditional phone line. This means your PA can answer calls from their mobile or their landline, which is really useful for when your PA is not at the desk, but can still take calls.

Your PA will use the app to make outbound calls, which will show up as a local number on your patient’s phone. None of us like receiving withheld calls, so it’s nice to know who is trying to get in touch with you, and to see it appear as a local number from the area your clinic is in. 

The VOIP system is also easily diverted to another member of the MPM PA Team if ever your PA is sick or away.

The VOIP app costs you around £20 per month and covers 5000 minutes of call time across both inbound and outbound calls on landlines and mobiles. As part of our service, we’ll help you set up a new VOIP system for your practice, including a dedicated phone number chosen by you. If you have an existing VOIP system, our PAs can step into that too. 

Put your trust in a Medical Practice Management company that understands the value of an answered phone. 

If you’re looking for a reliable service that your patients will love, why not book a discovery call with us to talk about your practice, and find out a little more about how we can help you run a professional service for your patients.